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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Help! Need advice right away!!


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So My DD is scheduled to audition for a SI tomorrow. We talked about this for three months and I asked if it was something she wanted to do. She said yes and I started to make the arrangements to have a smooth trip. Now, all this week, when she realized the audition was this weekend, she has been very negative. And today, she is practically calling me a dance mom for telling her she made a commitment and she is going to do it. I told her it doesnt matter if you get it or not. Its just an SI, but the audition experience is good for her.

You see, unfortunately, she had an audition about 5 months ago that didnt go well at all, because we were not prepared and did it on a days notice. Her hair was unable to be tied up (had a keratin treatment the night before) and she was just getting back into ballet after a years hiatus. She didnt even put on her pointe shoes. Needless to say, she blew it. She was mortified and cried for days. But with that rejection, a private company saw one of her videos and invited her to train with them. Since then in four months she is now back at her level and her center pointe is ever improving. We are so thankful for that company giving her a chance to train again.

So, I believe that failed audition has now led her to believe she should not try out for anything else. I dont care if she doesnt get accepted for this intensive, but I want her to get over the fear of rejection. There will be many rejections in her life in all things, but you should always TRY.


Please help me to say the right words to her, because as of now, in her eyes, I am a terrible mother because I dont let her sit on her iphone all day. Which is what she would do if I didnt try to steer her along her path. My DD would love it if she never had to be challenged, in "anything". Her fear of rejection is taking over.

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Speaking as a teacher, not a parent, and as an auditioner for many years. A child who does not want to be there in the audition will most likely not show very well. Her negative feelings will show through, and even if she dances well, the auditioner may see that she is not happy dancing. This, for me, would be a possible problem for the SI which I would consider carefully before accepting her.


I understand your wanting her to get over her fear of rejection, but I'm not sure that pushing her to an audition is the way to go. However, I would like to hear from some of our very experienced parents on this.

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Thank you sooo much for your immediate reply..Yes, you are right, it will show, not so much the negativity, but the fear. Fear makes us weak all over, and she probably wont perform well. I just wish I could say one phrase to let her understand her fears and dig deep for the strength. I used to dance Ballet and I also was a competition pianist. I know all about the jitters, but I found what worked for me to get through auditions. But everyone is different and my DD has to find her own way of coping.

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My DD is 17, so she doesn"t have much time with these SI's.... She fell behind because of her year hiatus, so she probably wont be going to a company. But she can attend the SI's for growth.

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Writing as mother to two DDs, now grown.


It is hard, but the best way to learn anything it to do it yourself.

Though it is really hard for a parent, there comes a time when the children have to discover for themselves all the things we would like for them to discover painlessly.


If she does not want to "face up to her fear" of auditioning, then perhaps she should not audition. If the consequences are some things she is not happy with, then it was at least her decision.

The world will not end.


Just my opinion. :)



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Thank you for your advice Diane. Yes, it is hard, but I will let her make the decision herself. She has been very sheltered most of her young life. Her maturity level is more of a 13yo rather than a 17yo. But she is so emotional regarding her fears and I don't want to compound the issue, so I will let her determine if she can survive this audition. A shame though, she is already registered and is expected. But like you all said, if she goes in a nervous wreck, she wont perform well. I wish I could figure out the words to tell her, nobody matters but you because she is so overly concerned about what the other applicants can do and she feels she is never good enough. When in fact, she has real potential. Anyone who can catch up 3 levels in 4 months I think is pretty good (even if I am her mother :))


In any case, she just came home from class, and seems to have a new positive attitude towards the audition. We'll see how it goes! Fingers Crossed :)

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My DS can be negative about his dancing but a supportive studio that encourages him has helped. When he feels valued by his teaches he feels better about his dancing. I think the private company your DD is training with will help her self confidence.

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our now 15yo DS lost his confidence and refused to enter a studio abut 18 mons ago. It pained me greatly to see him potentially walk away from his great passion but with some reflection I knew that this was also a lot about me- I didn't want to see him not realise his potential etc etc. I didn't want to see him waste all that time (and money) spent in class. With my husband's nudge I realised that these were my issues, not his. I realised that DS had to (badly) want to dance and that the motivation had to come from inside him. That it would be ok if he made his way back one day to recreational dancing. That this is not a catastrophe. Basically I backed off, told him that I would support him with whatever he choose to do. He was quitting because of a bad teacher so one message I had for him was that I didn't think it was wise to let her do that. If he wanted to quit for his reasons, so be it but not because of her. What I am trying to say is that your daughter needs to run her race. Some of these things take time and I agree with Miss Leigh, auditioning under emotional conditions could easily worsen her feelings. Give her more evidence of whatever weaknesses she is focussing on. My instinct is to not actually let her audition. Not waste the adjudicators time etc. My parenting preference is to not indulge too much emotional self flagellation. 'Don't want to audition? Fine. Please vacuum instead'. 'Not going to class? Excellent. They are expensive and the teachers have more motivated people to teach.' Behaving in unexpected ways can cause children to rethink these behaviour patterns.


PS DS returned to dance because of extremely supportive and kind teachers but he had several months off, where dance was a dirty word in our house! ;)

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I have had the same experience with my 16 year old DD. Although I understand her fear and anxiety after not doing well last season, I actually do think you should talk her into doing the audition from a different perspective.


For us, this is not a hobby. At over $15,000 per year for training, pointe shoes, summer intensives, gas money, airline tickets, etc, this is the equivalent of a vocational training program at a college. Their report card is their casting in productions, their performance in auditions, and the results of their auditions, (homework, projects, quizzes). In academic settings, who really cares if you don't feel up to an exam. You prepare and take it and suffer the consequences. Even the experience of auditioning when you are not at your best will teach a dancer how to fake it until you feel it! An audition is just a class after all. She will make it through and will have gained the confidence to know that her fears can be intentionally set aside.


I know I sound a bit harsh but many football dads will tell their son's to suck it up and get out there! I agree! Auditioning is always stressful but is something dancers HAVE to do. Otherwise, take the $15,000 and go on a trip to Europe or save for college.


PS. Sorry that I missed the 'right away' bit. I hope your DD ended up going and proving to herself that she can be fearless!

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Well, after planning for 2 months, my DD came home from class Saturday with a new attitude!! I believe the company members must have encouraged her and shared their own experiences. So, I decided to leave early sunday Morning, instead of saturday, in case she had another change of mind. I didnt want to waste big money on a NY hotel if she flipped out again.


I drove like crazy up to manhattan (about 2 hours, no traffic) Since I also danced in NY I knew exactly where to go. She bounced out of the truck like the true Sweetie I used to know;) I double parked there for a bit just to make sure she signed in.


To our amazement, the concierge insisted the audition was Saturday, not Sunday. My DD came out bewildered. I was sooo irate, I put my truck in park and fingered my 11 emails from the school to see how I could have made that mistake. But there it was, Sunday Dec 22, 2013 10:00am registration!!! I was infuriated! I sent a text to the AD to ask WTH? He said he is soo sorry, in our private emails he mistakenly put the wrong date. The website was corrected last week, but I never looked at it because we were communicating privately and I believed the AD would know exactly the process(?). He did however, smooth it over and said for us to just send her photographs and he would waive the fee and apologized over and over. So I was fine with that.


In any case, I decided to drive around my much missed home and give my DD a Xmas tour of lights. We went from the World Trade to Greenwich Village (NYU, my alma mater) Radio City and Rockefeller Ctr, to Lincoln Center ( SHE LOVED THAT:) and Times Square then up to Harlem (DTH) and Riverdale and Yonkers (Stew Leonards, yum) and then Tarrytown, where we had a very private and enjoyable Italian Meal. We arrived back home at 3am, completely exhausted.


So, all in all, it wasn't a waste.


I do want to thank you all for your knowledgeable advice. I have decided to back off a bit when it comes to my DD's choices, but I still will not allow her to break commitments if she makes them.

Edited by greywolf
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I'm glad it worked out well! My dd is struggling too right now, and I am hoping for a new attitude to kick in soon! But still how frustrating that the day was miscommunicated.


It sounds like a fun time though, and a great mom/daughter experience,

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